Whitney & Charles… Parley Manor… Dorset

I met this lovely couple over a year ago… Their brief was simple… Clair ‘do your thing’! I was so excited to embrace my love of all things natural and woodlandy… creating wild foliage arrangements packed full of dried seed heads, pampas grass and succulents… This wedding was all about south African influences, foliage and plants… After the wedding I asked Whitney to share some intimate details about how Charles proposed, and the planning of their big day…

Charles proposed to me at a beach bar in Croatia, one of favourite places on earth! We were having sun downers when he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I was wearing the same white dress I had on the first time we met. Charles had said to me that first night, after a couple of beers and a lot of flirting, ‘You’re the one and I am going to marry you one day.’ Six years later, on a beach in Croatia, wearing that same white dress, I said yes!!

Charles and I are both originally from South Africa so deciding where to get married was tough! Although the vast majority of both our family are in SA, England is our home now, and so we decided to it here! Our families where so excited to make a holiday of it. The pressure was on to find the perfect venue… We booked lots of viewings determined to make sure we got the right venue. Parley Manor was our first appointment but as soon as we saw the gardens we knew it was for us. We booked it there and then, cancelling the rest of our appointments! We loved the grounds, relaxed atmosphere and how easy it would be to make our own – a blank canvas with a gorgeous backdrop!

After securing our venue and wedding date I then became addicted Instagram using it for inspiration, its how we found most of our suppliers including photographer, stylist and you! I started following you (stalked really) and read your blogs. Every bouquet, centrepiece and buttonhole was unique. We wanted someone who had a definite style to their floristry and wasn’t just doing ‘wedding flowers’ so I popped you an email with all fingers and toes crossed hoping you were free. And you were! Phew! We felt very lucky to have you as a part of our day. 

Flowers were very important to me… My gran is a whizz with flowers and some of my favourite memories are of us arranging flowers together so I actually asked her for her advice. I sent her ideas and she would say, that bouquet is lovely but going to be very heavy all day (never would have thought about that!) or those flowers might not be in season, etc. so she was definitely a huge help! I come from a part of South Africa that is hot, humid and green all year so we chose foliage with that in mind. The proteas and succulents incorporated throughout our flowers were a nod to home too which made our flowers feel very personal and special. 

My dress buying was my next big mission…Oh wow, the first time I tried on dresses was with a very close friend who had also just got engaged! We booked an appointment at a stunning boutique in Wimborne and were excited to try on dresses together for the first time! Well, it didn’t go so well. The first dress I tried on I managed to get foundation all over the cream silk of the bodice! Quick tip: Step in to the wedding dress and try not to get make up all over an extremely expensive French design! The owner of the store was understandably annoyed with me and I still cringe when I think about it! The rest of the process was thankfully less embarrassing. I tried on a couple of dresses that were the ‘look’  I wanted to achieve but quickly realised it’s better to chose what suits me rather than what looked good on Pinterest! I also felt that once I knew what I was going to wear it made things such as flowers and decor easier to make a decision on.

What was my best part of the day… Oh, definitely the moment at the top of the aisle seeing Charles for the first time! I got told by a couple of people to stop at the top and take a moment to breath it in. I thought I would feel nervous and just want to hurry down so asked my dad to please make sure I took that time. I am so glad I listened to that advice as its a moment I’ll never forget. 

My top tip for planning your wedding is… I found wedding planning quire stressful at times… the best advice I got was not to fret about everything being perfect on the day as everyone attending were there because they loved us and wanted the best for us. It really changed my perspective! I chipped my manicure the morning of the wedding, my nephew and page boy sat in a puddle a few minutes before we were about to walk down the aisle so he had a wet bum and it was raining up until a half hour before our ceremony started. Not everything is going to go perfectly to plan, so that’s when your bridal party and your suppliers will step in step up. After all the planning and hard work leading up to it, try be as present as possible on the day and just enjoy it!

Wedding Venue – Parley Manor

Wedding photographer – Peppermint love

Wedding stylist – Linen & Lace

Very responsive and flexible

Clair is extremely passionate about what she does, which is highly infectious... She knows her craft and is very responsive and flexible to additional ideas... Everyone commented that they were the most stunning wedding flowers they'd ever seen!

We met Clair and clicked immediately

We met Clair and just clicked immediately with her. She had prepared ideas based on our description of the wedding and she was one of the few suppliers we met who genuinely tailored her approach as soon as she got the brief.

She is an extremely talented artist

Even after my own wedding over a year ago I still follow Clair on all her social medias... seeing her new work with other brides and feeling like she keeps re-investing herself, nothing is ever alike! She is an extremely talented artist.